GRAND RAPIDS –– Community development corporation and nonprofit housing developer Dwelling Place has selected Jeremy DeRoo as its next chief executive officer. DeRoo will succeed Dennis Sturtevant, who is retiring at the end of July after nearly 33 years leading the organization.
As CEO, DeRoo will continue to lead the work of being a force for change in meeting a wide array of affordable housing and support services needs. As a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization, while using a racial equity framework, he brings a honed skillset to Dwelling Place after serving as executive director at LINC Up for nearly 13 years.
“We are confident in Jeremy’s ability to articulate vision and know he will be an outstanding CEO whose passion for improving the life chances for historically marginalized communities will fit nicely at Dwelling Place,” said Dwelling Place board president Juan Daniel Castro. “The board is excited to work with Jeremy as our new CEO and believe that he is well positioned as a local leader and influencer. His track record in real estate and community development, affordable housing, authentic community engagement, racial equity and all facets of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is solid and we believe that Dwelling Place will be well positioned under his guidance to thrive in the years to come.
“We also want to thank Denny for his nearly 33 years of servant leadership,” Castro added. “We are who we are as an organization because of the visionary leadership of Denny.”
As executive director, DeRoo has led LINC Up in revitalizing neighborhoods through authentic engagement, stimulating economic development, expanding housing opportunities, creating affordable housing, and developing leadership and capacity in residents and grass-root organizations.
During his time at LINC Up, Jeremy has helped secure over $100 million in funding for community improvement efforts resulting in over 15,000 households participating in community meetings, improving over 750 homes, training over 7,000 resident leaders and creating over 200 full time jobs.
DeRoo said he was appreciative of the board’s confidence in him.
“My passion and purpose align with my personal commitment to engage in the work of community and systems change here in our community,” DeRoo said. “Dwelling Place is resilient and is a national model in community development. Here in Kent County, we are experiencing a housing shortage of epic proportion. The city of Grand Rapids will need more than 5,000 additional rental units and nearly 4,000 more owner-occupied units by 2025 to satisfy demand. I believe with the experienced and talented staff at Dwelling Place, we will continue to move forward and provide the stellar services and programs our neighbors and community deserve, including the addressing of the housing shortage.”
As CEO, DeRoo will work closely with staff and the Dwelling Place board to ensure the organization can continue to adapt to serve neighbors and the community through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The Board has been committed from the start that not only is it important to find the right person, but properly onboard their new CEO.
There will be overlap between the outgoing and incoming CEO during the transition, as Sturtevant has agreed to serve as a resource for DeRoo going forward. Another valuable resource in this transition is the tenured and experienced senior staff of nine direct reports to the CEO who have a combined 172 years of service to Dwelling Place.
“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to be a part of an organization that has worked to fulfill the hopes and dreams of many people in our community, including my own,” said Sturtevant. “I was able to gain knowledge and understanding by listening to the Indigenous wisdom of those we served. Every community we’ve worked in, I’ve been blessed to see the impact this organization and our outstanding staff has had on individuals and on families, as well as our work to change systems and structures that have been problematic for historically marginalized populations. Hearing the stories of people we’ve served, and being part of their life change has kept me going for these nearly 33 years. We’ve created an amazing base for continued growth for the organization and I believe Jeremy and our remarkable staff will do phenomenal work and keep Dwelling Place headed in the right direction.”